Absheron Oilfields (AZ 3.9)
edition 1/5 + 1 AP
103 × 103 cm (framed)
Inv. No. 0182
The three gorges of the Yangtze River in China, a deserted brown coal mining town in the Ruhr district, the world’s oldest oil fields in Azerbaijan – these are the themes tackled by Markus Krottendorfer, a fine art photographer born in 1976 who has set out to reinvent documentary photography. The well-versed traveler picked up his professional skills in his family’s reproduction laboratory. He still takes care of the development and enlargement of his own photographs and also sees to making his own prints.
Markus Krottendorfer takes the very last pictures of things before they disappear: one last view of the villages located on the huge dam before they were flooded by the brown water; one last night at the Hotel Rossija in Moscow shortly before it was demolished; one last day amidst withering industrial ruins, toxically shimmering pools of oil, and corroded cranes.
The two works in the evn collection show motifs Krottendorfer photographed on the peninsula of Absheron in Azerbaijan. Here, oil has been produced for nearly 150 years, a process that began in 1870 and is now coming to an end. In the immediate vicinity of the capital of Baku, not far from the popular beaches on the Caspian Sea, large areas of the landscape are still marked by the scars of industrial interference with nature, with ruins of production plants looming high against a sulfurous sky. Krottendorfer is not one of those countless snapshooters of disasters traveling about and collecting degenerated scenery. What matters to him is the historical and political background which is reflected in sites like the present one. These are studies, compelling and absolute, made in the twilight of intermediate zones. Krottendorfer fixates unfiltered space in a state oscillating between today and tomorrow, past and future.
However, Krottendorfer also takes the very first pictures of things: for what one believes to behold in them for the last time, one also sees for the first time. The artist’s photographs are final, clear, and unambiguous: he is a precise chronicler who intermingles his global check-ups with science fiction elements and dips them into Technicolor artificiality. “The World Is Not Enough” was the name of an exhibition in which Krottendorfer related his parable of natural resources. It was in the production fields of Azerbaijan that he came across the end of the cycle of civilization.
Brigitte Huck, 2011 (translation: Wolfgang Astelbauer)Continue reading
Markus Krottendorfer. Abseron Ölfelder, Artist portfolio 2008, Vienna , p. s. p.